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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

SEPTEMBER 2017

15

means there will be no positions for me

in Addis Ababa, so I resigned frommy

EFM position and accepted a contractor

position supporting Camp Lemonnier,

Djibouti. This will require that my family

be geographically separated; I will remain

in Djibouti, potentially without diplomatic

status, and I will incur additional expenses

for separate housing and utilities.

During Secretary of Defense James

Mattis’ visit to Djibouti, I was the control

officer responsible for coordinating and

planning with the Office of the Secretary

of Defense staff, embassy staff and CLDJ/

CJTF-HOA military staff members. I was

also the control officer for the East Africa

Security Synchronization Conference,

where more than 26 VIPs (ambassadors

and military general officers) came

together to discuss security issues in the

region.

I have written numerous cables and

reports for Washington that are directly

tied to foreign policies concerning the

mass migration of refugees into the region

and human trafficking, as well as other

annual reports mandated by Congress.

I find it heartbreaking that I was taken

advantage of to accomplish the work of

political and economic officers, yet sud-

denly I’m no longer good enough.

LaTonya S. Hama

Djibouti, Djibouti

Key positions vacant

I have a strong résumé with broad

experience in both private and public

sectors and an active Top Secret clear-

ance. Even though my post could use

someone just like me to fill several

important but now vacant positions,

because of the hiring freeze I have

returned to private freelance work

instead. I am one of the lucky ones who

has a more or less portable career.

Our mission, however, has lost the

opportunity to hire a qualified EFM to fill

a mission-valuable grants coordinator

position or to serve as the community

liaison officer (CLO) at a bargain rate.

With a huge embassy community

turnover this summer, the absence of a

CLO will surely affect mission morale—

and if another evacuation is authorized,

like the one a couple of years ago, there

will be chaos without a CLO to help

coordinate.

The high visibility of U.S.-Ukrainian

relations means that leaving the grants

coordinator position vacant (a position

that manages aid programs targeting

trafficking, corruption and economic

issues) will surely strain the public affairs

section.

These are only a few examples of how

the hiring freeze will negatively impact

Mission Ukraine.

AmyLyn Reynolds

Kyiv, Ukraine

No more shining light

It is hard enough for a capable and

accomplished spouse to put his or her

own career ambitions aside to support

the other, but the shining light has always

been the possibility of working at post.

Now that is gone.

From a professional perspective, it’s

terrifying. EFMs are a vital part of our

operations and save us money. We have

positions at post that are sitting empty

that we can’t fill. I’m not sure how long

we will be able to operate like this, either

in the professional context or in the

personal one.

Shoshauna Clark

Kolkata, India

Mission Japan takes a hit

As at other posts, Mission Japan will

be hardest hit [by the EFM hiring freeze]

in the Consular section. We cannot

EFM Hiring Freeze

Eligible family member (EFM)

employment is a top priority for AFSA.

The issue has been raised repeatedly in

recent discussions AFSA leadership has

had withmembers. Members told us

that critical post operations were threat-

ened by the State Department’s deci-

sion not to backfill positions vacated as

a result of the normal Foreign Service

rotation cycle. As EFMs are often by

far the most cost-effective way to get

a job done, the decision baffledmany

members.

AFSA also knows that the loss of

EFM employment is a real hardship for

families. In our Structured Conversa-

tions, members tell us they love their

jobs but worry about the impact of their

highly mobile service on spouses, many

highly educated and with career aspira-

tions of their own.

AFSA will continue to press for a

resumption of EFMhiring. Please join

us inmaking the points that EFMhiring

is cost-effective, contributes mightily to

critical post operations, and is good for

families.

—AFSA

replace several of our EFM consular asso-

ciates and assistants, which means that

we will lose valuable support for finger-

printing and other administrative tasks.

Our Management and RSO sections will

also take a hit.

We are unable to fill or replace the fol-

lowing critical positions: general services

travel assistant, human resources assis-

tant, housing coordinator, work order

clerk, badging clerk, mail and pouch

assistant, and CLO (Osaka). The incum-

bents are transferring out, and replace-

ments cannot be appointed.